When you sign on the dotted line to store data and applications in Microsoft Office 365, you may breathe a sigh of relief: Finally, someone besides you is responsible for maintaining business continuity of your data and applications.
But how far does Microsoft actually go? Microsoft has its eyes on managing your Office 365 infrastructure and maintaining uptime, not your data. Microsoft says itself, “It’s your data – you own it.”
With that ownership comes many responsibilities. There’s a common misconception that when you purchase Office 365 that Microsoft protects your data on your behalf. That’s a dangerous myth, one that could have serious consequences if you don’t start taking action to secure your data now.
Where does this misalignment stem from? Ultimately, it comes down to Microsoft’s perceived responsibility and your actual responsibility of protecting and retaining your Office 365 data. The backup and recoverability that Microsoft provides and what you think you’re getting are often different. Geo-redundancy, which Microsoft Office 365 does offer out of the box, is often mixed up with “backup.” However, these two things are not the same: Backups occur when you make a historical copy of data and store it in several locations so that if something happens – such as an accidental deletion – your administrators can easily access a saved copy elsewhere and recover it to your production environment. No harm, no foul. Geo-redundancy, though, protects against site or hardware failure. If there’s an infrastructure crash or outage, Microsoft ensures your users are shielded from this and can continue working … not saving your important data.
If you’re an Office 365 customer, make sure you have solutions for these six important use cases:
Geo redundancy is good for a system-wide infrastructure failure. However, for something that happens more often than you think – accidentally deleting a user or file – that deletion is replicated across the network, making matters worse and deleting the data forever. The native recycle bins and version histories included in Office 365 can only protect you from data loss in a limited way, turning what you believe to be a simple recovery into a big problem. Look for a managed backup service provider like US Cloud who can work with you to conduct item-level restores of your information in the case that there is an accidental deletion.
Retention policy gaps
Office 365 has limited backup and retention policies that may or may not help you depending on your specific business needs. It is not an all-encompassing backup solution.
For example, after an employee leaves your company, Microsoft only keeps that person’s data for 90 days. Microsoft is only in charge of upholding the retention policy stated in the service agreement, and anything more would be considered a breach in contract. This is a common use cases we come across from our customers who believe they have the coverage to recover that data … until it disappears forever.
With an Office 365 backup solution, a longer, more accessible retention policy is obtainable to protect and store all your data in a single location, making recovery fast, easy and reliable.
Internal security threats
Many times when we talk about security threats, we are focusing on hackers who scour the dark web looking for opportunities to penetrate your defenses and steal your sensitive information. However, another security attack vector is within your own company, with threats – either intentional or unintentional – coming from your own employees.
Microsoft has no way of knowing the difference between a regular user and a terminated employee attempting to delete critical company data before they depart. In addition, some users unknowingly create serious threats by downloading infected files or accidentally leaking usernames and passwords to sites they thought they could trust. While education for your employees can go a long way, look for a managed security services provider (MSSP) like US Cloud which can manage your users’ access and safeguard your information so that if there is an issue, you can quickly identify and mitigate it.
External security threats
We’ve talked often about the external security threats to your data and applications in the cloud that cost businesses billions of dollars every year. Office 365’s backup and recovery functions out of the box are not strong enough to stand up to today’s cybersecurity threats. Look for a MSSP who can work with you to secure your Office 365 environment to ensure that if any malicious viruses or malware try to enter your system, the threat can be contained without causing major business disruption.
Legal and compliance requirements
Sometimes you need to unexpectedly retrieve mailboxes or other types of data due to legal action. Microsoft has built in a couple safety nets (e.g. In Place Hold and Litigation Hold settings), but these on their own do not suffice keeping your company out of legal issues. Going back to the retention limitations, for example, if a user is accidentally deleted their on-hold mailbox is also deleted and completely unrecoverable.
Will that stand up in a court of law? Don’t wait to find out. Look for MSSPs like US Cloud who can navigate the complex patchwork of legal and compliance requirements across countries and industries to ensure your organization stays on the right side of the law.
Managing hybrid email deployments and migrations to Office 365
Recent studies find that the migration of content from on-premises environments to a cloud platform such as Office 365 is a tremendous time and resource expense. Add into this the factor that many organizations need transition windows and still keep some information on-premises, and you have the ingredients for a management disaster. Look for a trusted cloud provider highly experienced in managing hybrid IT environments who can help you navigate the right path to the cloud, ensuring all your information is safe and protected at each step of the way.
Office 365 can offer great benefits in agility, scale, and potentially cost – but it needs more support than what it offers you out of the box. US Cloud™ is a managed cloud and cloud security provider with 2.1 billion secure logins managed since 1999. With its 100% USA-based CloudKeeper™ support, US Cloud helps companies simplify their infrastructure, unburden their team, and protect their brand. Ready to avoid these six common Office 365 gaps? Contact us for a quote today..